May 6, 2005
Pepperdine Head Coach Marv Dunphy
"We're going to practice and then compete for a championship in front of a good crowd."
(on formulating a game plan against UCLA)
"With every team we play, we have to know the systems, the tactics and the tendancies for each individual hitter or setter. We do that every time. Historically UCLA has had more interchangeable parts, and we've had to know about a few more people."
(on how it would feel to win the championship in front of Coach John Wooden, who might be in attendance Saturday)
"Whenever you get the opportunity to be in the presence of greatness, you take it. Just to be in same room, the same gym as him, it's a good feeling for everyone, not just me. But it would be special for me."
(on expecting a surprise lineup from UCLA)
"Al has started and played different guys all year. That wouldn't surprise me."
Pepperdine Senior John Mayer
(On the differences between this championship and past)
"I expect this to be unique from past years. Just playing the last two seasons has prepared us. Last night was as good of a preparation (for the younger guys) as anything. They're pretty mentally tough and ready to go."
"It feels like we've been pretty steady since the beginning of the year especially, but it felt like during MPSF's we were at our best. This is a good time to be at our best. Last night we played well."
(On his position change)
"I took it as a challenge like any athlete would. At first it was mentally and physically tough because of the different skills and attitude needed. I was excited in some ways and disappointed in others, but as I experienced it and got to prove myself on the court, I've enjoyed it."
Pepperdine Senior Sean Rooney
(On the differences between this championship and past)
"I think it's just being here before. We know what the crowd will be like, what the gym will be like, what the sport court is like. Other than that, anytime you come out and compete for a championship, it will be unique."
(On the team dealing with position changes)
"They've all come a long way. Every player on the court has come a long way in changing positions. We have a lot of good volleyball players. A lot of people would not have thought to put that lineup in at the beginning of the season. A lot of people doubted that. But we've handled it well."
(On what will the next 24 hours will be like)
"It will definitely be something, no matter what happens. I'm always going to remember it. Being here at UCLA - talk about trying to find a better way to end your career - in Pauley Pavilion in front of a big crowd. We're going to be ready to go after it tomorrow."
UCLA Head Coach Al Scates
"I think we're ready to go. We had a good practice today in Pauley, and the second team is playing well. The first team is playing well. I think we'll be using a few more guys tomorrow night. We went almost all the way with our starters yesterday. Gray Garret came in for a few swings and did well. Aaron Dodd had a dig that led to a point. Typically we play more players in a match, and you'll usually see more players off the bench for us."
(On Sean Rooney)
"What you have to do with Rooney is pick up his off-speed shots. When he's in a perfect rhythm you don't stop him. But you have an opportunity to score when he runs under the ball. The players are so dug in prepared to get the hard ball that when he gets under it, it's like a pitcher that has 98 mph fastball. When he throws a change-up, he fools everyone.
(On if UCLA can win if Rooney hits .400)
"Sure, if the other guys are shut down. It's easier to shut down the best player, but he's the hardest player in the country to shut down. It will be a lot easier to shut down their other players. We're not going to stand there and let Rooney get his kills, obviously. We'll contest every swing he makes."
(On setter Gaby Acevedo)
"According to Gaby, he didn't sleep for two nights once knew he was the starter. Hopefully he gets over that a little bit and is a bit more relaxed. I thought he did a great job for us last night, and he should have a lot of confidence going into tomorrow."
(On the competitiveness of the lineup)
"When I recruit a player at UCLA, even a player like Karch Kiraly, I never tell them they're going to start. Of course I know every other coach in the league tells their kids he's going to start, especially if they're special high school players. Here, everyone knows they have to come out on the court and compete for a spot. Even Tony Ker came in and saw three good liberos playing already, and he came in and said he thinks he can beat them out. That's the attitude you need to have."
(On counteracting Pepperdine's big runs)
"In the five games we've won against them in eight games, we've had some big runs. It depends on our serving. Usually it's when Kris (Kraushaar) is serving or (Allan) Vince or (Paul) Johnson. Usually those serves initiate big runs. Occasionally it's been (Steve) Klosterman too. The last time we played against Penn State, he served for 17 points and had some huge runs. It starts with the serve. A big run is three points in a row from the serve. When you get one of those, you can usually win the game. We have servers who can do that."
Senior Kris Kraushaar
(On what to do differently from the last match against Pepperdine)
"We need to play defense around our block better. There were a lot of balls we should have dug that we didn't. That was the main difference."
"I think we're in a special situation here at UCLA. There are so many guys who can go in and contribute every day in practice. Playing against the best guys in the conference helps make everyone better."
(On playing in the NCAA Championship match)
"Obviously I came here to have an opportunity to win a national championship, and it's just one more game that separates me from that ultimate goal."
(On Pepperdine handling UCLA's serve)
"I pass against all those serves in practice every day. I know that most of the guys on the team can really bring it. When the guys on the team are ripping serves, it's hard to pass. I know first-hand more than most of [Pepperdine's] guys how hard they can serve."
(On Sean Rooney's serve)
"He's right up there. I thought Ohio State did a pretty good job against a serve like that, the way he was hitting it. It's going to be tough to pass."
(On the other Pepperdine players)
"Pepperdine has a solid group of guys who have put up big numbers for them. All of their hitters have had good matches over course of the year. So if we can limit those other guys, I think we have a good shot. I think the key to that is going to be our passing. If we can get good passes up and keep their blockers guessing, it will help us a lot."